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Can Video Games Be a Vocation?
WilmU student's workshop shows at-risk teens how games get made
One day last year, Clayton Washington had an educational epiphany.
"Kids love video games. We have a difficult time getting them off the computers to finish their schoolwork," said the counselor and co-op coordinator at Colonial School District's Wallin School in New Castle. But, he added, "almost everything has a learning component to it."
That's when the light bulb flicked on. "Why not teach them the skills behind something they're doing right now?" Washington asked. "Learning how video games are made is STEM education. They could take that and pursue it to a career."
As an adjunct instructor at Wilmington University, Washington had a pretty good idea where to find the resources for that kind of education. "I know how great WilmU's College of Technology is," he said.
His proposal for a game design and motion graphics development workshop for Wallin's special needs students earned the support of Wallin principal Kevin White. He received a $1,000 educational grant from WSFS Bank and strong encouragement from the College of Technology. The workshop opened the doors of Wilmington University's computer labs for an hour every Wednesday from November through February for 12 high school students and showed them the world beyond the classroom.
"We wanted to provide students who face academic and social challenges with an opportunity to see what they're capable of," said Washington.
"Ngu did a great job with the students," said Washington. "And a lot of times, what he taught them got a response of 'Aw, cool!' That's the dream of every teacher, isn't it?"
Nguyen, who has created video games for the College of Technology's orientation and showcase events, has an eye on a master's degree in information systems technology and possibly a career in education. "I got involved with the workshop because I really want to teach programming," he said. "So the workshop was an opportunity for me to demonstrate my skills."
In addition to game design, the workshop also covered Wilmington University's admissions process and financial aid information, in the event that the students decide to begin their career path at the school.
The Wallin School's workshops at the University are a partnership that could benefit students at both schools, said Washington, who is seeking funding for future workshops. "We want to keep it going, linking the students' academic studies now with college and career readiness skills that will prepare them for life beyond high school."
And, he said, not just in technology, but perhaps in nursing, criminal justice, and other careers as well -- all fields in which Wilmington University also offers degrees.
About Wilmington University
Wilmington University is a private, nonprofit institution committed to providing flexible, career-oriented, traditional and online associate, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. Ranked as the second fastest growing nonprofit doctoral institution in America 2004 – 2014 by The Almanac of The Chronicle of Higher Education, affordable tuition, academic excellence and individualized attention are hallmarks of the University that enable greater student success in their chosen careers. For more information, contact Wilmington University at 302-356-INFO (4636), via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website: www.wilmu.edu.